Thursday, November 20, 2014

Contribute to our podcast!

We have had a fantastic year kicking off the Reading Envy podcast, and we hope you have been enjoying it.  We always welcome feedback, particularly the constructive kind - what do you like to hear the most in an episode? What have you thought about some of our experiments?

Jenny will be compiling an end of the year episode, but we need your contributions!  To participate, record a brief audio file (.mp3 is best) with:

1. Your name (or code name)
2. Your location (or not)
3. Your favorite book you read in 2014
4. Why was it your favorite?

Try to keep it under 5 minutes or Jenny will edit you severely!  These will be compiled into a podcast episode that will post at the end of the year.  We would love for you to be a part of it.

If you aren't a person who usually records, here are some ideas of what to use:
  • If you keep it under a minute, you can send a file from the built-in voice recorder/memo on iOS devices.  
  • DropVox is an app that interfaces with DropBox, and once you have recorded it uploads it, and from there you can send a link to a file.
  • Audacity is open source software that rivals other basic audio recording and editing programs.  If you find it too complicated to download the lame encoder that exports to MP3, you can send Jenny a WAV and she will do that part. 
  • GarageBand, dragged into iTunes, file converted to MP3.
We look forward to hearing from you!  Please e-mail submissions to readingenvy @ gmail dot com. Send by December 26 to ensure we receive the file in time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reading Envy Podcast Episode 016: Was That Mansplaining?

This episode features a repeat guest from Episode 015: The Time for Exclaiming Over Costumes, Jean!  This time she drops by the Reading Envy pub to discuss a few books she has read lately.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy Episode 16

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner

Or subscribe via iTunes by clicking: Subscribe

Books discussed:



The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
The Lover by Marguerite Duras
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
The Emperor's Babe by Bernardine Evaristo
A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich

Other books or topics that came up:

Library of Water
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
James Thurber - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in The New Yorker, 1939
Newberry Award
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
"Cancer novels" by Lurlene McDaniel
Henri le chat noir

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jenny's Library Books Mid-November

I checked out so many books from the library this past month, I had to make two piles. And since there are so many, I will discuss them in chunks!  One book pictured can be ignored, the Blue Plate Special.  I've had it checked out from the library for two months and I felt like I hadn't done anything with it!



Ravel According to Ravel edited by Vlado Perlemuter
The Cambridge Companion to Ravel edited by Deborah Mawer
Irony and Sound: the Music of Maurice Ravel by Stephen Zank
Unmasking Ravel edited by Peter Kaminsky
Ravel by Roger Nichols

In my Creative Non-Fiction class, I am working on an essay about preparing for a recital. I was also experimenting with incorporating research into that style of essay for the first time, and went out in search of what Ravel thought about Jeux D'eau, one of his earliest pieces for piano. That should explain the subset of books on Ravel!

This Perfect Day by Ira Levin
Why I Read: the Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Sesser

Almost all the books pictured have been returned to the library.  These are the only two I have not yet read!  I will read the Levin for an SFF Audio readalong discussion. I've been promised dystopia! Why I Read was a whim from the library leisure reading collection and I'm not sure if I will read it or not.  I am always interested in seeing how people write about reading, but don't always connect with them.

The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
Icelanders in the Viking Age: The People of the Sagas by William R. Short
Soldier of the Mist by Gene Wolfe
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Of the remaining books, four were for book clubs.  The Solnit and Short were for the World Literature group in GoodReads, both having something to do with Iceland (however the Solnit also fits nicely into all the Creative Non-Fiction reading I've been doing, so that was a nice bonus.)  The Gene Wolfe is for an upcoming discussion for the League of Extraordinary Dorks Book Club, and the Marra was my pick for the in-person International Book Club.  (I can't say enough about that book. It was even better on the second read, and we had a great discussion!)

Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything by Barbara Ehrenreich
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
Blue Horses: Poems by Mary Oliver
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction edited by Mary Paumier Jones and Judith Kitchen

The rest is a bit of a grab bag! Reading tends to be. I had come across a review of the Ehrenreich somewhere, probably Publishers Weekly, and was interested in the child raised by atheists having her own private spiritual experiences. Ehrenreich goes back to her journals and reflects on them, but I couldn't get through it.  My review reflects that this might be a fault of the book itself, but it could also be the fact that I found the book in large print.  (Does this happen to anyone else? Format interfering with reading?)

The Zelazny was because of a reading goal and because it was October, the Oliver was a whim because I didn't know she had another book of poems out and I can't ever pass her up, the Alameddine is one of the finalists for the National Book Award announced this week, and the Jones/Kitchen had been mentioned in one of the texts we are reading for the Creative Non-Fiction class, so I read it too!

It is a good thing I have such good libraries at my fingertips.  I just passed 200 books read this year, and how could I ever do that without libraries?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reading Envy Podcast Episode 015: The Time for Exclaiming Over Costumes

This episode features another book club - The League of Extraordinary Dorks Book Club.  Karen ("Cat") and Jean ("Owly") join Jenny ("Sam") to discuss five years of this virtual world book club.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy Episode 15

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner

Or subscribe via iTunes by clicking: Subscribe


In November 2009, the League of Extraordinary Dorks Book Club had its very first meeting in Second Life.  The picture includes three of the characters from Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger - Elspeth and two "kittens of death."  And thus begins a book club that takes place in virtual space, with monthly meetings, and an emphasis on costumes, or rather, coming as a character from the book.

Some of our favorite reads, according to Cat, Owly, and Sam:




Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
Rites of Spring: the Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age by Modris Eksteins
The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon
In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker
Wool by Hugh Howey
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Up next: Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris.  If you're curious, you can read it and join in.

Important links:
Book club booklist
League of Extraordinary Dorks Book Club blog - pictures, chat, lists.
(Here is one example of a book club discussion that you can relive through the blog!)
The League of Extraordinary Dorks Book Club in Goodreads

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Jenny's Books Added October 2014

In October, I spent three days in Jonesborough, TN at the National Storytelling Festival (highly recommended!) and another three days at the South Carolina Library Association Conference in Columbia, SC.  I spent most of my reading time working on a project for my Creative Non-Fiction class, so I had a lot more library books coming into my house than others.  October may be the smallest pile I've posted!

Nest by Ed Madden
Out Loud: the Best of Rainbow Radio by Ed Madden and Candace Chellew-Hodge
The Antagonist by Lynn Coady
Me, Myself, and Pie: Amish Recipes by Sherry Gore

I've had Lynn Coady on my to-read list since she was nominated for a Giller Prize in 2011.  I feel like nobody in the USA reads anyone from Canada, and I want to be more intentional about our neighbors to the north.  I'll probably end up putting this title in a speed-date project because I'm not sure I'll be into the subject matter, but maybe it isn't all hockey, eh?

The cookbook is a bit of a mystery.  I received another cookbook for review but don't particularly remember requesting it.  It is full of traditional Pennsylvania Dutch pie recipes, and while they seem pretty standard, the two pies I made and brought in did not get polished off.  Never a good sign!  Definitely could be user error.  You can read about shoofly pie over on my baking blog.

One of the keynote speakers at the SCLA Conference was Ed Madden, who talked briefly but provokingly about whose stories should matter.  He was co-editor of Out Loud, an anthology of stories that appeared on Rainbow Radio, telling LGBT stories from South Carolina.  I went to his keynote, another presentation with both editors, and then a reception where we got free copies of his books (he is more known as a poet) and he signed them.  It was a great experience. I want to incorporate some of his thoughts into my Storytelling class, and maybe I will be able to bring one or both of them to campus!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reading Envy Podcast Episode 014: Flannery O'Connor with Zombies

Scott and Jenny are joined by Jason Roland, who Jenny knows from the Goodreads group On the Southern Literary Trail.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 014

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner

Or subscribe via iTunes by clicking: Subscribe

Book selections:



The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon
The Future for Curious People by Gregory Sherl
Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key #1) by Joe Hill
I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down: Collected Stories by William Gay
How to Be Both by Ali Smith

Books mentioned otherwise:
Exit Kingdom by Alden Bell
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zura Neale Hurston
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
Smonk by Tom Franklin
The Walking Dead  (series)
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
Once the Shore by Paul Yoon
The Isle of Youth: Stories by Laura van den Berg
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan (series)
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (series)
Horns by Joe Hill
The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Fifth Head of Cerebrus by Gene Wolfe
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendel
Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Follow Jason on Twitter!








More stalking:
Jenny at GoodReads
Scott at GoodReads
Jenny on Twitter
Scott on Twitter
Scott on his blog

Friday, October 17, 2014

Jenny's Library Books October Edition


For the Time Being by Annie Dillard
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard
Always Apprentices: the Believer Book of Even More Writers Talking to Writers
To Show and to Tell by Phillip Lopae
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
An American Childhood by Annie Dillard 
Firebird by Mark Doty
Heaven's Coast by Mark Doty
How to be Both by Ali Smith
The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

I previously mentioned that I am auditing a class on creative non-fiction, and my stack of books is a clear reflection of that!  I needed to re-read how David Foster Wallace writes about tornadoes, and I was trying out Mark Doty for a muse but went with Annie Dillard (for a class assignment. I liked Doty but he was too death-based for my current family situation!).  Always Apprentices came up in passing in one of the readings for the class, and the Lopate is assigned reading as well.

The bottom three books are from the Booker shortlist! I did finish the Flanagan before he won the prize this year.  I did not end up finishing the Mukherjee and returned it to the library.